Journal Highlights

Small scale sea ice deformation during N-ICE2015: From compact pack ice to marginal ice zone

Editors’ Highlight­­—

In the context of a spectacular sea ice decline, there has been a growing interest in sea ice kinematics and mechanics over the last 15 years, as associated processes are likely strongly involved in this decline. In particular, the analysis of two sets of data, satellite radar imagery, and tethered buoy trajectories have shown that sea ice deformation is characterized by scaling properties in space and time that are the signature of the underlying brittle dynamics. These scaling properties are now used as evaluation metrics for coupled sea ice/ocean models. However, the limitation of these former datasets was their time (~day) and spatial (~10km) resolutions, raising the fundamental question of how they can be extrapolated to smaller scales, with important consequences in terms of fine scale sea ice physics and dynamics. The authors of this paper present, for the first time, sea ice deformation data obtained at much finer scales from ship radar data (~min and ~100 m) and that show a striking agreement with previous analyses at much larger scales. This allows exploring an entirely new space and time domain of sea ice kinematics and so to better constrain the underlying physics and mechanics.